Top Ten Historic Hotels

The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
GRANITE PEAKS: The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel sits among towering forests and mountains (The Fairmont Banff Springs)

6. The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
In the 1880s, the Canadian Pacific Railway built magnificent castle-like lodges across Canada to attract tourists from Europe and the East Coast. Above are the dizzying summits of giant granite peaks; below sparkle the waters of the Bow River. The Fairmont's Rundle Lounge has arguably one of the best views in North America, with Mt. Rundle looming over the magnificent Bow Valley.

In the heart of Banff National Park, The Fairmont Banff Springs opened to the public in 1888. Built in the Scots Baronial style, the hotel's Gothic Revival architecture is a symphony of towers, turrets, and crenellated battlements. The hotel seems suspended above a velvet carpet of forest, a jewel set by the gigantic granite monoliths.

It is an easy walk into the small town of Banff or into the miles of wilderness that makes up the surrounding park. The hotel's Stanley Thompson Golf Course is world-class (and a great place to watch elk and moose in the early morning and twilight hours). The soaking pool at the Willow Stream Spa has a stained-glass roof that feels like something out of Arabian Nights. The pool also features three cascading waterfalls, each in a different therapeutic temperature.

Rooms start at under $300 CAD a night—with the rate including ski passes and spa access.


Published: 8 Apr 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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